It's May the 4th, which can mean only one thing; for 24 hours the internet will be awash with a certain pun (no, we're not going to give you the satisfaction), as sci-fi fans everywhere celebrate Star Wars Day 2017.
The annual celebration allows Star Wars lovers a chance to purchase exclusive memorabilia, attend one-off events and, of course, watch the films until they're blue in the face. However, this year, the overarching theme will be the tributes to one of the franchise's stars, who died late last year.
2017 marks the first year in the franchise's existence that former leading lady and fan favourite Carrie Fisher has not been around for the celebrations. Fisher, who was adored by fans the world over for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, sadly passed away in December 2016 at the age of 60.
Before her untimely passing, Carrie was already shooting for the ninth film in the series: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film, which will be released on December 15, 2017, will feature Fisher as General Leia Organa, as she takes on her famous role for the final time.
It was more or less written in the stars that Carrie Fisher was destined to become a Hollywood legend. From a very young age she had been surrounded by showbiz glamour - as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, with Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, acting was very much in her blood. She began her own acting career at the age of 15 when she appeared in a Broadway show entitled Irene, and from there her path was decided. The young actress made her first on-screen appearance in 1975's Shampoo, but Fisher's real big break came two years later, when George Lucas cast her as Princess Leia in Star Wars, later renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Her role as the intelligent, wisecracking princess made Carrie a pop culture icon, and she returned for the following two films, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983).
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm
Princess Leia marked a turning point in the way that women were portrayed on screen. Female protagonists in films were all too often pictured as damsels in distress and liabilities. Leia, on the other hand, was as much a leader and part of the gang as any of Star Wars' other main characters, and spent as much time doing the rescuing as she spent being rescued.
This was down in no small part to the spark that the famously witty and feisty Carrie brought to the role. Speaking about it during an interview with Rolling Stone, she said: "Movies are dreams! And they work on you subliminally. You can play Leia as capable, independent, sensible, a soldier, a fighter, a woman in control - control being, of course, a lesser word than master.
"But you can portray a woman who's a master and get through all the female prejudice if you have her travel in time, if you add a magical quality, if you're dealing in fairytale terms."
Fans, friends and fellow actors are already flooding social media with tributes, as Star Wars Day 2017 gets into swing. And whilst Carrie Fisher might be gone and sorely missed by those who she inspired, the mark she left on modern cinema and the portrayal of female leads is evident for all to see.
Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm
Topics: Star Wars